Practical Duality or Delusional Duality

dualityWhen we incarnate we enter a world of duality, an experience of separation.  In a realistic sense this is important.  We are able to recognize objects, people, and animals as distinct from ourselves, we interact with our environment and the entities and objects within that environment.  We learn that fire burns, animals can bite, and rocks are hard.  We also learn more subjective identifications such as- good and bad; right and wrong; happy and sad; beautiful and ugly.  Duality is the existence of pairs of opposites.

In metaphysical spirituality, we are taught to strive for oneness with all things, to let go of separation, and understand that we are interdependence upon one another.  Teachings often speak of the importance of emptiness, that thoughts and things do not have independent origin but arise from other things.  Sometimes we are told that this world is a delusion and that nothing that happens here matters because we are destined for heaven, nirvana, enlightenment, and bliss.

Left or right on handsDuality is both illusion and reality.  How can that be?  Well, let’s take a pragmatic approach.  In life on a day to day basis it’s important to know left from right, up from down, forward from back, hot from cold, and open from closed.  If we can’t tell left from right or up from down we have a cognitive disability.  If we can’t distinguish between hot and cold we can injury ourselves physically.  It’s also helpful to know if a door is open or closed.  So, duality in this respect, has a utilitarian functionality.  Even fully enlightened beings still need to maneuver in daily life, just like everyone else.

Then, there is the duality of Delusion.  This can be extremely subtle and is the true cause of suffering.  Great Spiritual Teachers have told us that suffering has a cause and discovering that cause allows us to find the path to liberation from suffering.  The duality of delusion arises from opinion, beliefs, attitudes, and judgments.  For example:  good and evil, right and wrong, neat and messy, beautiful and ugly, whole and broken, or happy and sad, man and woman, us and them, etc.

'Cleanliness is next to 'clean room' in the dictionary.  Look it up.'I am not saying we shouldn’t have opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and discernments.  What we want to examine is how some of these things lead to suffering for ourselves and contribute to the suffering of others.  Let’s start with neat and messy.  As a child, or as a parent, we were probably exposed to this concept.  If the parent has a standard of neatness that has to be met…or else.  What happens?  Angry words.  Tears.  Resentment.  Feelings of not being loved.  All of these are a cause of suffering.

In relationships, these delusional dualities or opinions can cause tremendous suffering.  Example:  A young married couple with two small children appear to be very happy together.  The husband works hard and long hours so that his beloved can stay home and care for their two young children, keep the hearth, and make a home just like in his childhood.  The wife is happy to be with the children and loves her home.  She’s grateful that her dream is possible and she doesn’t have to leave her children with strangers.  Then, one day both children become ill, and she also becomes ill.  She isn’t getting any sleep, can’t eat, and needs help from her husband.  He becomes angry and storms out of the house and doesn’t come back for a few days.  This is the duality called wife and husband.  Both those words have a world of idea, belief, and story behind them.  Our ideas work as long as other factors don’t come into play.  But other factors have a way of showing up.  The result?  Suffering!

One more example:  I work hard for a living, seeing people, problem solving, organizing events, and serving my spiritual community.  Therefore, my delusional belief is to come home to a neat and tidy house.  That is a neat and tidy house according to my programmed, conditioned expectations.  Sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  Irritation, self-pity, and entitlement creep into my thoughts.  If I share those thoughts everyone is challenged.  If I don’t then only I am challenged.  But this is suffering and for what?  Because things were not the way my judgement-self thought they should be?

wallpaper-2450469Liberation from suffering comes when I am able to see through the delusion of what should be and allow myself to be OK with what is at the moment.  Watching thoughts, we begin to see our aversion and attractions: I like it, I don’t like it; It should be, it shouldn’t be, and on, and on, and on.

But we do not need to decide for the whole world what beauty is, what happiness is, what love is, what the correct dress or behavior is, or any other ideal that is only a matter of opinion or cultural conditioning.  Let us strive to recognize our causes of suffering and let go of the wheel of fire. Liberation awaits those willing to release attachment to delusional duality!


In Honor We Hold Ourselves

868be8e27122c1683a068bd950546df1As we look at this statement we understand that it’s about holding all life as sacred.  We love the earth, the creatures, and being outside in nature.  We see the value in preserving life on earth and we try to honor others who are think differently than we do.  Perhaps the challenge of this statement is accepting and honoring ourselves as who we are.

“The primary task of spirit is in discovering and knowing the value in yourselves.”
 Maha Amma Ilowan

Within earth energy, all things serve a purpose.  Think about mosquitoes, while they may not be valuable to you, they are valuable to birds, frogs, lizards, snakes, and other insects. All life is intertwined.  Everything has a place and a purpose. Everyone matters.  We can observe the pain and suffering when certain people or entities are singled out as unimportant.  It’s easy to want to get rid of something or someone who seems threatening to us.  But that is not the way of Compassion.

When we look at a tapestry or even a piece of cloth we can see that every thread has a purpose.  When some threads are missing it creates a hole in the fabric. We all have a purpose for being here and we don’t necessarily have to know our purpose for our contribution to be relevant to others.  Bees, birds, cats, dogs, and multiple other animals don’t know their purpose but their contribution is relevant.

Beings always matter.  When someone dies, they leave a space – a hole in the tapestry of the lives of friends and family, but they may also leave a hole in the lives of people they didn’t even know.  Your life, as you are, who you are, where you are, has value no matter what your life looks like. There is a perception in our culture that one person’s worth and contribution matters more than another’s. This is capitalism – where one’s value is measured by productivity, possessions, power, and prestige.  In capitalistic machine-mind consciousness, a machine can be created to do a human task.  The machine replaces the human or animal who is then cast out and left to starve.

“Life is a privilege that has been gifted to you as a human being in order to create love, compassion, generosity, and kindness.
Maha Amma Ilowan

Consuming KidsWe are taught to be good consumers and the more we consume, the more value we have. We are taught that if we have more things, we will be happier.  If we believe those lies a problem arises which creates a tendency to compare and contrast what we have – and don’t have – with what other people have and don’t have. We might think that what others have is better than what we have. Sometimes we even want to change places with another because that person seems to be and have everything we want. There is a line in a song that says “Desire is the fire of creation.” But desire can also be the suffering of grasping the fiery wheel of samsara.

Consider: “Is a squirrel greater than a tree? In size, yes. Yet, each holds a fullness of being and purpose that is neither greater than, nor less than. A tree and a squirrel understand what they are and each finds a way to share their gifts.”

Reflect: “You have a responsibility to the earth, family, community, and life itself.  Be the greatest YOU that you are capable of being.  Share your skills and talents. You are here to use yourself up in service to Life.”

Contemplate: Some people think that having a role is binding, a limitation, but to have a role means we are of value to ourselves.  If we know our role we can be a gift to those around us and contribute to the whole. Example: Being a mother or father to small children is a role.  If we refuse to offer that role and make it a special gift, we create pain and suffering that can last for generations. To give to others is not only important to life, but to our soul.”

In this culture, we think that being busy, over-obligated and stressed brings value to our lives.  But if we serve only our task list, constantly run errands, keep so busy that we don’t have any time, or live life according to the dictates of electronic devices, how is this creating value?”

DNA-Sequencing-Is-As-Beneficial-And-HelpfulTruly we are ONE essence with all other life. Science tells us that we share 95% of the same DNA with all other life forms. This means we belong together. Our spirit’s purpose is to create a life to share with Life.  We must learn to celebrate interdependence instead of independence.


“We were brought here to give, love, and share. This is all that really matters.”

What If…?

What if there is nothing wrong with me?  What if there is nothing wrong with you?

apocalypse-statue-of-libertyIn this very difficult and scary time when the world we thought we knew seems to be disintegrating it becomes important to ground and center in spiritual truth.  No, I am not advocating a head in the sand, ignore the pain, and pretend everything is happening for the best attitude.  I’m suggesting that we reinforce our relationship with our humanity, with our inner goodness, with our strength of character.  I am suggesting we remember and ground ourselves in the benefactor qualities of the human race.

Because we can imagine and act on our imagination humans have created many amazing, beautiful, and positive things in this world.  We have also created, through imagination and action, genocide, poverty, destruction, hatred, bigotry, and war.  As we know the beginning of both heaven and hell reside in the use of our own mind.  It resides in the way we think and speak of others and the way we think and speak about ourselves.  As we become overwhelmed by hearing and seeing the dark side of human behavior let us also look for and listen to the good in our young people, in the actions of our brothers and sisters around the globe.  Let us remember that hard times call for heroic action.  The heroes of old are calling your name.  Many children, women, and men are listening and responding in protection, compassion, and a renewed sense of purpose.  Protecting all of life we nurture and defend what is precious.

hand-846092_1280-2-custom-1Here are some things to consider as you cultivate the hero within you:

*You are living your life the best you know how and attempting to get better every day.

*You make mistakes, like everyone else, which allows you to gain wisdom.

*You’re unique, whether you’re introverted or extroverted, practical or a dreamer, technical or artistic, book smart or street smart…however you are…you are the only person just like you on the planet.

*If you do what you enjoy and don’t harm other beings, you’re living a beautiful life.

*You will never become someone because you already are someone.

*If someone hurt, you…you didn’t deserve it…no one does…and it didn’t happen because of karma.

*It’s OK to feel your emotions and respond to them.  If you need to improve the way you respond; well everyone could use some improvement in that area.

Chaos, confusion, darkness, fear, anger, grief…these are all perfectly understandable emotions in this time of upheaval and potential destruction of the values we were taught was the American Way.  The Buddha once said, being with what is we can respond (not react) to what is.  We respond by knowing who and what we love- the Earth, the animals, the children, compassion, generosity, and fearlessness.  We respond by maintaining the knowledge of our inner goodness and working to create a world we can proudly leave to our children.


And if, like the Jedi, many of us are destroyed, then like the Jedi we will rise again and defeat the darkness of hatred, greed, and anger.  The Force is with us!  We are unstoppable!

The Word, The Will, The Way

divine-sparkIn the beginning was the word.  The word was with the Divine and the word was the Divine.  All things were made by the word and without the word nothing was made.  In the beginning the Divine sent out sparks from itself, sparks of potential love, kindness, compassion, and generosity.  Some of these sparks became angels of light and some incarnated as humans into the earth worlds.  Each spark held the ability to activate the Divine Mission of Grace and Benevolence but few understood how to properly use the word, the will, and the way.  And so chaos, confusion, and the darkness of selfishness became manifest causing extreme suffering for all life.

Every human on our planet is a spark of Divine Potential a piece of the Great Plan of Grace and Blessing intended from the beginning of time.  Potential means: possible or likely although not yet actual; powers or resources not yet developed or made use of; a latent possibility.  Therefore, when we have not yet discovered or manifested our divine purpose, we must incarnate again and again to demonstrate our part of the Divine Mission.

nytimes-word-cloud_2In order to accomplish this, humans have been gifted with the word, the will, and the way.  The word is thought, focused intention and attention on what we believe, know, and consider important.  Words are constantly filling our mind.  Even in meditation we notice thought/words and decide not to focus on them.  The word/thought we continually pay attention to, believe and know is true becomes infused with Will.  Will is thought fortified through emotions.  When the word/thought is present and we engage our feelings and emotions with that thought it becomes manifest.  The manifestation of thought/word as a tangible experience is the creation of the Way.

Example: If I am convinced that I’m not very smart, or confident, or lovable there will be a dialogue taking place in my mind that persuades me this is true.  It may be the inner voices of my parents, teachers, or the words may be coming from remembering a past event which didn’t turn out the way I wanted.  When I have those thoughts/words I have emotions that arise- fear; anger; sadness; disappointment; or pain.  Therefore, when encountering a new situation or individual I have already decided how it will turn out and most likely that will be the case.  I have used my words, my will, against myself to create a way that proves I am a loser.

If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.  If you think what you’ve always thought, you will feel how you’ve always felt.  If you feel what you’ve always felt, you will get what you’ve always got.


The power of the word, will, and way is irrefutable.  We can see it clearly in the lives of people around us and if we look we will see it in our lives as well.  But we are NOT POWERLESS!  Inside each of us is a Great Being waiting to be actualized through thoughts, feelings, and acts of loving kindness, compassion for all life, generosity to those in need; determination to bless instead of curse; and a fearless heart that refuses to accept the suffering of the world.

We have two selves.  A small, self-centered, egocentric self and a Great, selfless, benevolent self.  Everyone has activated the egocentric self that’s how we got our ticket to this life.  Few have taken the energy necessary to activate the infinite potential of Great Self.  Spirituality is the path out of suffering and into becoming the answer to all the prayers pouring out to Divine Spirit every minute of every day.

Monitor the words you say to yourself.  Change those words to kindness and compassion.  When you immerse in loving kindness to self give kindness away to others- the Way of Love, the Way of Grace, the Way of Blessing will manifest all around you.  What we focus on increases.

Remember, we can only add our piece to the great picture of Divine Goodness so we may be disappointed that our efforts don’t change the entire world.  But if we refuse to add our spark to the Divine Goodness Mission nothing will ever change.

In this time of fear, doubt, and disillusionment it’s essential that people of good heart, everywhere, use the power Divine Spirit has entrusted to us (The Word,The Will, The Way) to ensure that All beings shall be freed from suffering!


A Christmas Story

Once upon a time Mama and Papa Light and the angels were getting ready for the birth of the baby Jesus.  Everyone was very excited.  Everyone wanted to participate, and everyone wanted to help.  There were many jobs to be done, but there were also many, many angels who wanted to do those jobs.  So Mama and Papa Light decided to hold auditions to see who would be best suited for each job.

angels-artwork-christmasThe first auditions were for those angels who would sing in the Hallelujah choir. These angels would announce the baby’s birth to the shepherds near Bethlehem, singing Hallelujah! Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth! Good will to all!

Many angels applied for the job and were accepted. But one angel couldn’t sing quite as well as the others.  One little angel was rejected because he had a scratchy voice.  Angels were also needed to keep the Christmas star bright.  Many angels applied and were accepted. Each angel smiled brightly at getting such an important job.  But our little scratchy-voiced angel was also a little sloppy.  Although his smile was bright, he always had cookie crumbs on his face and his robe didn’t fit right.  All those things got in the way of his brightness.

anime-boy-angel-with-brown-hair-images-pictures-becuo-3500685Soon after Jesus’ birth, an angel was needed to help the holy family to get safely to Egypt and away from King Herod of Judea.  This angel would need to protect the family on their long journey. Our little scratchy-voiced, sloppy angel applied for that job, too, but he was too fat to fit into the armor. So our scratchy-voiced, sloppy, fat angel did not get any of the jobs needed for Jesus’ mission – not the messenger job to tell the 12-year-old Jesus to stay behind at the temple and learn from the rabbis, while his parents waited for him; not the job of being with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; nor the job of guarding Jesus’ tomb after the crucifixion and telling of his resurrection.

The little angel participated as best he could from afar during Jesus’ lifetime and during the annual birthday of the Christ child and of course all the celebrations of the resurrection.  But our little angel did spend most of his time playing and eating cookies.

lluu8Many years went by and the annual birthday celebration seemed to lose its meaning.  People no longer shared love and joy. They just thought about what to buy and how to be safe in their own houses.  It seemed that the world was becoming dark again.  Mama and Papa Light decided they needed to do something to bring the light back. They opened a job position for an angel who could bring love, joy, and the spirit of the giveaway back to Christmas.  Many angels applied and many were rejected.

The scratchy-voiced, sloppy, fat angel, looking at the many angels who were applying for the job, decided not to apply.  Instead he took his cookies and went to sit in a corner. After all the angels had applied for the job and been turned down, Mama Light said, “This is a very special job that will take a very special angel.  Where’s the scratchy-voice, sloppy, fat little angel?

“Santa Claus come here.  This job is for you.” Mama Light said.

Santa Claus’ mouth fell open. “Who me?”

santa-claus-04Mama Light handed the angel a red, furry suit, just his size, saying, “I have made you a special furry suit to wear for this job.  It is bright red for joy, and soft and furry for love.”

Papa Light then said, “You will need helpers in order to create the millions of toys that you will be taking to the children of the world.  Here are some elves that will assist you.”

Then He said, “I have created a special home of light for you at the North Pole.  It can only be seen by children who have pure hearts.  From there you will be taking presents to children all over the world, and so you will need transportation.  Here is a sleigh and reindeer to pull it.”

Santa Claus was so happy to have found his special job that he laughed out loud, deep and clear.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

And to this day Santa Claus brings love and joy to all the children at Christmas time.  The children, knowing his love of cookies, are always sure to leave him a plate of on Christmas Eve.  And on Christmas morning, all that are left of those cookies are the crumbs he has brushed from his wonderful red suit of love.

What Now?

Delusions are inexhaustible.  I vow to end them.

challengesAs we awake from our distorted view of what it means to be a proud American it’s important to renew our faith in a Dream that Really Works.  Our leaders are calling for unity but have yet to define a true vision that could bring unity.  Unity can’t happen when some people are left out.  Unity can’t happen when civil rights are only for those holding the majority view of religion, ethnicity, gender identity, and country of origin.  The Constitution, we were taught, was written for everyone.  Although historically quite a few people were left out of that equation- African Americans, Native Americans, women, slaves, Asians, and anyone else considered less than or unimportant in the white, male dominated eighteenth century.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way!

A Dream that Really Works must take into consideration the very stuff that allows Life to Thrive.  The first step is providing all beings, not just human beings, with those things: Clean air, pure fresh water, an abundance of untainted food, a safe secure home, the ability to follow one’s true calling, the ability to be well and cared for in childhood, in sickness, in old age, and in death. And the ability to be free from unnecessary suffering; such as torture, beatings, name calling, profiling, bullying, unjust imprisonment, abandonment, and starvation.

With eyes wide open we can see that almost none of these basic life needs are being met for All People, let alone all beings- not here in the United States anyway.  If we actually want to unite in common cause this is the Dream we could attempt to implement.  This vision requires the decency of kindness, compassion, and a generosity of spirit unparalleled during any other time of history.  Perhaps it’s time for a new history…a history that doesn’t create pain and suffering for its citizens, that doesn’t marginalize people…a history that allows the word human to mean humane.

GoldenRuleThroughout time great beings have given us the formula for this dream.  Do, say, behave with others only in a way you would be willing to experience personally.  The earliest record of the existence of this blueprint for humane behavior was in ancient Egypt 1650 b.c.e.

 Empathy.  Walk a mile in another’s place. If our governmental leaders Really want to be a the leaders of all the people it would be a step in the right direction if they practiced the Golden Rule and then guided us on a journey so that all beings have what it takes to thrive.

We have a mountain of evil to remove from the consciousness of the world.  This mountain is created from enemy consciousness, misogyny, gender discrimination, white supremacy, greed, violence, and destruction of the Earth.  Prayer is the only force capable of crumbling that mountain.  Prayer first for compassion and empathy in Our Hearts. Then, Prayer to awaken compassion and empathy in All hearts.  If we have faith in the power of prayer, even if it is as tiny as a mustard seed, we can move that mountain!




Evolution or Entropy?

galaxy_universe-normalDivine Spirit is ever expanding, growing, and changing.  We know this because the universe is ever expanding, growing, and changing. However, in most cultural constructs the Divine Being is still portrayed as existing in a state of perfected beingness unattainable by mere human creatures, although everyone is expected to attempt this impossibility anyway.  If there is an all-knowing, all-seeing, absolutely perfect entity out there somewhere it means entropy has set in and god is dead!

As humans we appear to desire safety above all else.  We go to great lengths to be safe from loss, sickness, old age, and death.  We seek to eradicate illness, discover the fountain of youth through pills, creams, surgery, and research.  Most of us feel personally affronted and even betrayed by death. We want to find a perfect place, a perfect solution, a perfect life, a perfect family, and a perfect world.  Evolution is messy and often fails.  Statistics tell us that 13% of all species are evolving and out of those 90% will fail.  This means we are not safe.

know-your-enemy3It seems that throughout time, humans have felt compelled to create safety through the destruction of anything that is a threat to the status quo.  These threats can take the form of a neighbor, germs, immigrants, other nations, other faith groups, and even the self.  Language expresses these concepts of fear- demonic, heresy, abomination, anathema, bitch, bastard, ass-hole, etc.  And for many it is all justified in the name of a god who demands judgment, punishment, and retribution, now, or in some horrific hereafter.

What if Divine Spirit is not a perfect entity somewhere?  What if Divine Spirit is the indwelling force of compassion, forgiveness, understanding, and loving-kindness within all beings?  What if Divine Spirit is an ever expanding, evolutionary, and cosmic force that cannot be confined on a mountain top, within a temple, a church, or a book? Countless saints, from multitudinous religions, have confronted this great truth and called it the Divine Mystery or the Cloud of Unknowing.

c01a1693dfe1c8b5056996af742a754aWe are living in evolutionary times; in revolutionary times.  And yet, all around us we see people clinging to the old days, the old times, the mythical golden age of family, faith and country.  Was it really?  On closer look we see children abandoned, beaten, and starving.  We see animals tortured, experimented on, and killed to decorate someone’s wall.  Wars fought to bring change and leaving only poverty, disease, and destruction in there wake.  Women being raped, beaten, and sold into slavery…just like now.

Perhaps we need to look beyond the things that divide us.  Perhaps we need to look past gender identity, religious identity, national identity, and ideological identity.  We are being called to evolve into a people who identify with compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and generosity.  We are being called to live the Divine Mystery!

We don’t need someone with all the answers.  We need people to ask the right questions- People who know the earth as our sacred home- People who care enough to eradicate hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness!  We need young people to share their vision, to allow them to fire our passion and make a difference.  We need elders who are not content to be comfortable but are willing to lead us in a new spiritual consciousness of Love in Action!GalaticAlignEye

Evolution or Entropy?  Life or Death?  The choice is yours!